Earning Remotely From the World’s Top Retirement Haven
U.S. expat Bill Cotter was drawn to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast by his love for surfing and his desire for a more laidback, nature-filled life. The unspoiled, biodiverse region, which includes beachfront communities such as Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal, combines affordability and spectacular scenery with modern infrastructure and amenities. This helps explain its growing popularity among remote workers and digital nomads from around the world.
Bill and his wife, Luz, arrived in Costa Rica after living in various big cities abroad. A teacher at overseas American schools, Bill had worked in places ranging from Guadalajara, Mexico to Lima, Peru, where he’d met Luz. Their transition to life on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast began when he signed up as a volunteer tour guide for a U.S.-based social enterprise called Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder (SSTS). The organization provides American high school students with opportunities to travel overseas and work alongside expert nonprofit leaders.
After guiding some SSTS trips for free, Bill was offered a paid position as director of programming and education. He recommends this approach to anyone who doesn’t know how to get started in a new field or industry. “Find something you like and offer to volunteer. Ask for a job and you just might get lucky,” he says.
His current role allows him to live and work from anywhere, facilitating his move to his dream destination of Costa Rica. In fact, SSTS feels his home base in Central America benefits the organization as many of its trips take place in the region. For example, in Bocas del Toro, Panama, SSTS partners with a local nongovernmental organization called Give and Surf. Bill brings in student groups to learn from this nonprofit, which offers cultural and educational programs through surfing and other activities.
When Bill isn’t organizing or leading trips, he and Luz are enjoying all that their new home has to offer. The couple live in a comfortable two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Uvita. Rent costs just $600 per month and high-speed internet comes in at around $50 per month. Bill is also within walking distance of a great beach and can surf the warm tropical waters year-round.
Uvita on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast is known for its stunning beaches and spectacular scenery.
Bill and Luz were also pleasantly surprised to find a vibrant expat community in and around Uvita. In addition, given its popularity with digital nomads and remote workers of all ages and various nationalities, the region has excellent options for dining out spanning pubs, wine bars, and restaurants, including a New York-style pizzeria.
Other benefits of living and working in Costa Rica include the time zone, which is the same as U.S. Central Standard Time; the politically stable environment; and the ease of purchasing land or property, which you can do with just your passport. Plus, with nonstop flights from San José, Costa Rica’s capital, to a variety of international hubs, the couple can quickly and easily visit family and friends in the U.S. or Peru.
All in all, Bill and Luz are overjoyed that they chose to start a new life in Costa Rica and are now planning to build a home there. They say that with its mix of natural beauty, warm waves, and a solid expat community, Uvita feels like the perfect place to invest in their long-term future.
By Tara Tiedemann
Photo ©Jason Holland